Lopeti Timani of the Rebels (right) makes a charge.
Lopeti Timani of the Rebels (right) makes a charge. Ross Setford

Rebels show faith in starting line-up

REBELS coach Tony McGahan has named an unchanged starting line-up for the first time in 27 games for Friday's clash with the Waratahs at AAMI Park.

Four changes have been made to the nine-man bench with the inclusion of Wallaby Lopeti Timani and Welsh international Dominic Day, along with the return of centre Mitch Inman and prop Tom Moloney.

"The starting line-up showed character and fight against the Chiefs last week so they're all deserving of the opportunity to get another crack from kick-off," McGahan said.

"It's great that we can include some experience for Friday night's game against the Waratahs with Lopeti and Dom to provide some much-needed depth and quality from the bench when called upon."

Day, capped three times for Wales, is expected to make his Super Rugby debut.

The lock has 92 appearances for Welsh club Scarlets and 110 for English outfit Bath before a move to Japan with Toyota Verblitz in 2016.

The Rebels are defending the Weary Dunlop Shield after they reclaimed the trophy courtesy of a maiden victory in Sydney last year.

Hooker James Hanson will record his 100th Super Rugby appearance.

Meanwhile, Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson has shaken up his under-performing starting line-up.

Bernard Foley (concussion) has been named in the No.10 jersey and will be partnered by rising halfback Jake Gordon.

Gordon replaces out-of-sorts Wallabies No.9 Nick Phipps, while in a surprise move Israel Folau has moved from outside centre to fullback.

That switch sees Andrew Kellaway named on the wing, while David Horwitz and Rob Horne form a new midfield pairing as youngster Irae Simone is omitted.

In the forward pack, lock Ned Hanigan has been rewarded with a start at blindside flanker following the serious injury to Jack Dempsey.

"We need to get our combinations clicking," Gibson said.

"Up until now we have been far too inconsistent and the mistakes have been on us to fix.

"We are pleased to have Bernard back, his absence has certainly been felt in those first four rounds.

"For Jake it is an opportunity as a promising young player and he deserves a chance.

"Jake's got an eye for a gap, he's a strong runner, he plays a lot on instincts and he is a good kicker of the ball.

"Ned came on and made a nice impact (last week).

"He has always been past his age group, (and at No) 6 or 4 he is a very versatile player.

"I like what he brings to the team.

"He has got immense ability and it is a good opportunity on a bigger stage to really cement himself.

"The short turnaround I think has been good for us this week on the back of Saturday night's loss.

"The team came in Monday eager to do what needs to be done to get us out where we are right now.

"The Melbourne Rebels won't be an easy side to face at home and certainly they were unlucky to get the loss they did last week.

"They will be as eager as we are to get the win on Friday night."

News Corp Australia


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